Food manufacturers today urged Europes policymakers to help them remove barriers to innovation and growth at the FoodDrinkEurope Innovation Day in Brussels.
The event brought together industry innovators, risk managers, policymakers and other stakeholders to discover how R&D and innovation can help Europe respond to the big challenges of our time in order to contribute to tomorrow’s world.
Coinciding with the first anniversary of the European Commission’s ‘Innovation Union’ flagship initiative under the EU 2020 Strategy, stakeholders heard from European Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, about how innovation is central to Europe’s future.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the food industry, Debra Crew, President and General Manager of Western Europe Region for PepsiCo, commented:
“Innovation really is the lifeblood of our industry and of Europe’s economy as a whole. Europe is very aware of its current ‘innovation emergency’, not to mention all the other forms of economic resuscitation that have been necessary in recent weeks. But the good news is, as we have seen today, there is genuine commitment and determination to raise our game on innovation – on the part of both industry and policymakers – and in partnership we can convert the ‘innovation emergency’ into a real opportunity.”
During other parts of the Innovation Day, presenters looked at where the industry is today against the backdrop of the unprecedented challenges Europe faces – from the more immediate economic crisis to longer-term considerations such as tackling obesity and mitigating climate change. Stakeholders learned about what the food industry is doing to meet these challenges – for example, to create a wide range of safe, tasty products which are suited to consumers’ lifestyles and help them have a healthier diet; to make production processes more efficient; and, finally, how to tackle environmental issues such as food waste.
The final session looked at how to improve innovation in Europe’s food industry, calling for collaborative, coordinated responses which are cross-cutting in their reach towards business operators (including the large number of food industry SMEs), researchers, academia, and policymakers. The discussions culminated in a call for a better regulatory framework in Europe which helps to remove barriers to growth, inspires confidence in Europe’s ability to lead in this key area and, last but not least, which helps food manufacturers positively respond to evolving consumer demand in a timely and effective way – both for Europe’s 500 million citizens and beyond.
Downlaoad event presentations here